Tag: charity

Happy Friday! 0


Since the current state of knitting here at Chez Knit Potion is mostly my looking longingly at my WIPs while I remind myself to get back to work, I thought I’d take a page out of last week’s book and share some of the  fun links I’ve come across online over the last few days.

The number one best discovery has to be The Secret History of Knitting.



I found this documentary by reading a post on Little Golden Notebook (another new-to-me knitting blog that’s full of interesting stuff). If you’re a knitter, the film is big fun to watch. It’s loaded with great visuals, and while most of the knitting highlights are things I was familiar with, there are a few surprises. There is actually a pretty convincing explanation of the origin of the Kitchener Stitch, one with more detail than I’d heard before (would love to know the source of their info), and there is a fascinating section on the secret codes women stitched into their knitting to pass along details of railway activities to the Belgian Resistance during WWII. In addition, there are interviews with knitting superstars and a satisfying overview of the ups and downs of knitting for the last thousand years or so. It’s thoroughly enjoyable.

The number two interesting thing was a post on the UK Hand Knitting blog about scrap yarn. Apparently, it was the thing the most knitters absolutely wouldn’t be without in their knitting kits. I’ve used scrap yarn for all of the things mentioned, but it was fun to see the run-down and, of course, the yarny pictures.

And in the news . . . I enjoyed this article about how a run on handknit Icelandic woollen sweaters is causing a knitting wool shortage in Iceland! And this one about a jaw dropping, knitted field of poppies created for the Chelsea Flower Show in the UK.

Finally, do you know about Twiddle Muffs? This is the article that sparked my interest. Twiddle muffs (or twiddlemuffs) are hand muffs with interesting textures and attached bobbles, and they are said to have a soothing effect on people suffering from dementia. It’s apparently common for those afflicted with Alzheimer’s and similar conditions to need something to do with their hands. Having a plush muff with buttons, ribbons, zippers, and other small points of tactile interest to run their fingers over helps keep their hands busy which makes them more at ease overall.

I had never heard of such a thing, but it makes a lot of sense, especially in light of what I’ve seen myself in a few people close to me. There are a number of free patterns online including these:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/twiddle-muff (crochet)

For anyone who’d like to knit for charity but hasn’t found the right project or for those who have someone close to them who is in need, this might be just the thing. I will definitely be making a few.

In the meantime, it’s back to work and fitting in my knitting where I can.


Happy weekend, my knitters!

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Ringing out the old . . . 2

Stripey Socks

Ringing out the old in handknit socks . . .

Here we are on New Year’s Eve. I can hardly believe it. I thought while I was winding down I’d sneak in one last post for 2015.

The Scrap Yarn Sock Advent Calendar project is a wrap.

Scrap Yarn Socks 3 Scrap Yarn Socks 2

I’m so glad I did this! Besides enjoying the knit along, I absolutely love having a pair of socks that’s made up of yarn from so many other projects. Every time I look at a particular stripe, I think back to what I was doing when I knit with that yarn the first time around. There is even a section that uses yarn from the very first pair of socks I ever made! I’m talking serious handknit mojo right there.

And remember the Christmas washcloths I was knitting for my dad? I finished them just in time. They were actually the last present he opened on Christmas. I think he was starting to worry that I might not come through with the good stuff this year. He should know better.

2015 Dishcloths 4 2015 Dishcloths 7

My works in progress are all in a happy state of close-to-doneness. I have just a tiny bit of the border left to finish on my Travel Shawl. And I have the sleeves, ribbing, and collar and button band left to do on Gramps. I started a super easy loop-type scarf while I was in Texas, but I’m not in any hurry to make progress on that. I think it might live in my take-along bag for awhile.

What I’m really looking forward to is Blankie Mania 2016! It’s a blanket knit along in my favorite Ravelry group. Everyone will be working on something different, but we’ll all be doing blankets of some sort.

After considering a bunch of different things, I’ve decided I’m definitely going to do the Geek-A-Long blanket. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s the brainchild of the ladies at Lattes and Llamas. Every Sunday, for 48 weeks, they post a pattern for a free, geek-themed double-knit/crochet square. In the past the squares have featured everything from a caffeine molecule to The Magic School Bus and Dr. Doom. The main purpose of the whole thing is to  raise awareness for Child’s Play Charity. If you’re not familiar with Child’s Play, follow the link and check it out. It’s very cool.

So here’s why I’ve decided to participate:

  • Lattes and Llamas’ design skills are crazy good. Check out their The Flash square. Who wouldn’t want to knit this kind of fun stuff??
  • I’ve been wanting to learn double knitting. Doing this blanket will give me all kinds of opportunities to learn and practice the technique.
  • One of my main knitting goals for 2016 is to finish a blanket. With the Geek-A-Long, you not only have the satisfaction of completing a blanket, you also have all the little moments of happiness that come with finishing each square. I think that will help me stick with it.
  • I absolutely love a good knit along. If it’s a mystery, that’s even better.
  • It’s for a great cause! Child’s Play Charity does a ton of good. I’m not going to be using the Louet GEMS yarn, a portion of whose sales benefit Child’s Play, but I will make a donation directly to Child’s Play.
There are probably other reasons I’m doing this too. I just can’t think of them right now. I’m distracted by wanting to dive into Extreme Double Knitting by Alasdair Post-Quinn. It came in the mail this afternoon. Woohooo!! I’ll report back!

Happy New Year, knitting people!!! I wish you lots and lots of happiness and tons of knitting time in 2016!!

Happiness Is . . . 3

After a crazy busy work week, with more crazy business slated for tomorrow, today was a little piece of awesome. My favorite Saturday of the month—fiber guild! I can honestly say that one of the very best parts of trading Chicago for the mountains of NE Tennessee has been finding Limestone Creek Fiber Guild. These women are amazing.

I’m normally reluctant to share pictures and stories from fiber guild because it’s  an intimate, private feeling kind of thing, and I think everyone likes it that way. Today, we had all sorts of visitors, though, so I thought this might be a good chance to say a little bit about what goes on one wonderful Saturday a month.



Our host is someone who has maintained a seriously demanding career in business while simultaneously attending culinary school, starting a llama farm, and launching her own fiber business. She grew up in Charleston. She exudes everything beautiful, welcoming, and warm about the South. She has peacocks. She cooks things that stay in your head forever as the absolute best. Pound cake, coconut flan pie, shrimp etoufee, mushroom bisque . . . She makes it look easy. When she greets you at the door, you are the exact person she’s been waiting to see. You want to stay there and knit or spin and cuddle with the cats and pet the dogs and visit . . . forever.


Maisie on Couch

And the regulars at Fiber Guild are equally wonderful. One is in her eighties and was born in Limestone. She’s got more energy than I do. She still bales her own hay. She’s a nurse. She’s a gardener. She’s a cook. And she’s hilariously funny. Others have come to the area from the Northeast, the Pacific coast, Florida. They are scientists, technology geeks, academics, artists, authors. And the super amazing, most wonderful part of it all is that they knit, spin, crochet, or weave with an absolute passion. In some ways it’s like waking up surrounded by people from your home planet after you’ve spent a lifetime hanging out with aliens. 


Today, the guild was visited by a woman who has a plan to help people in Zimbabwe make spinning wheels from old bicycles. She’s doing graduate work at a nearby university, and this is a project she’s well on her way to realizing. The people she’s working with have fiber animals but no way to process the fiber. With spinning wheels they could turn the fiber into yarn. We got to see a prototype of her bicycle spinning wheel and actually try it out. She was looking for feedback from the guild’s experienced spinners, and I think she got a lot. At some point in the not-too-distant future, there will be some sort of crowdfunding going on, and I’ll be sure to post a link. Pretty cool, huh?

Bike Wheel 1


We also got to meet a couple who raise alpacas and have recently opened their own fiber mill. A number of guild members purchase fiber by the fleece, and several even have fiber animals themselves, so a mill willing to do custom work on a small scale is an exciting prospect.


They brought samples of their alpaca fiber for everyone to try out, and it was luscious. I can definitely see myself spinning more of it in the future.

Alpaca Fiber

My contribution to the pot luck this month was paleo brownies. They were just okay. Our host’s gluten free, dairy free chocolate cream pie, on the other hand, was delicious!


When we weren’t talking or eating or learning about cool new things, I spun and knit on this swatch of handspun.

Handspun Swatch

It was a very happy day. 

In the news . . . 0

Knitting on the 28thirty cardigan is moving happily forward. I need to take some pictures. Tomorrow. I promise.

In the meantime, the news is full knitters doing interesting things.

I absolutely love the idea of people on faraway northern islands sitting by the fire with a warm cup of tea or a mug of beer and knitting away the dark evenings. This article is about that, sort of. The picture is perfect, and I actually had it posted here, but after doing some reading about copyright infringement, I’ve gotten cold feet. It’s great, though, definitely worth a look.

In Bolivia women are knitting parts for hearts—literally!

And in Australia, this:


. . . pouches for sick animals. This is a common brush-tailed opossum, Samson. He is recovering from a punctured lung. In a hand knit pouch.

I know. I just said I was worried about copyright infringement, and here I am posting Alex Halford’s picture, but I’m thinking that, in this case at least, the Copyright Act would allow it, and hopefully Alex Halford won’t mind.

Knit, Vote, Love 4

Fotor 2014 11 04

Back again! That’s two days in a row. I might be on a roll.

Nothing profound to share today—just the joy of knitting in a day full of errands and waiting. Two days, actually. Yesterday was election day, and today was run-around-all-over-the-county-to-appointments day. Despite some disappointments at the polls, the referendum on selling wine in grocery stores here in our fair city passed. Woohoo!! Believe it or not, the vote was actually somewhat close. One of the stranger parts of our mostly wonderful move from Chicago to Appalachia has been our introduction to the culture of the blue law. I saw some of this in Texas when I was younger, so the concept isn’t completely foreign. But still.

Today’s excitement was a trip to the dentist and the vet, among other things. My teeth and our Misha’s now-stitch-free tummy (he had surgery for bladder stones two weeks ago) are both doing fine.

Fotor 2014 11 05 2 Fotor 2014 11 05

My on-the-go project these days is a sweater I’m knitting for Adele’s Legacy. I learned about Adele’s Legacy earlier this fall at The Knotty Ladies Yarn and Fiber Weekend Getaway. A new friend who is deeply involved with the project told me about the group over lunch one day. I was impressed to the point of tears by what these women accomplish. A handful of them work together to knit a sweater, hat, and scarf for every single child in a particular elementary school each year. On a designated day in November, the children are ushered into a large room where tables are spread with hundreds of items that have been knit especially for them. Each child gets to choose a sweater, a hat, and a scarf for their very own, which means that each child has at least one sweater, hat, and scarf to wear through the winter.

I can’t begin to say how impressed and touched I am by this. Not only does it address the issue of cold children—it gives each child something special that has been handmade—stitch by stitch—with care. I believe in the power of knitting with love and the ability of something knit by hand to carry good energy. That each of these children, no matter the child’s individual circumstances, goes home that day with something that has been handknit on his or her behalf is huge. I am certain the world needs more of this.